Variety of Clemson receivers scoring touchdowns in bunches

November 8, 2016

CLEMSON — The assault on Clemson’s wide receiving records continues, and while many of Sammy Watkins school standards remain close to untouchable, there are multiple active Tigers taking their place among the program’s scoring leaders.

Wide receiver Artavis Scott has 17 career receiving touchdowns, deep threat Mike Williams and tight end Jordan Leggett are each veterans with 15 scores, and Deon Cain has already crossed the goal line 13 times while not yet through his sophomore year. Sophomore slot receiver Hunter Renfrow, originally a walk-on, has eight career scores.

When the season began, only Scott was among the school’s all-time top 10 in terms of receiving touchdowns; he had 14, good for 10th on the list. Scott has now cracked the top five, his 17 TDs tied with Perry Tuttle; meanwhile, Leggett and Williams are tied for 10th with Terry Smith, and Cain is two touchdowns away from joining them in the top 10.

Not a bad time to be the quarterback throwing passes to all these scoring machines. Or the coach calling plays for them.

“It’s good to have the depth we have and the young guys making plays for this offense,” junior Deshaun Watson said. “All the veterans are teaching the young guys how to work and prepare and go out there and produce on Saturdays. It’s a blessing. It’s an honor to be a part of something special like this. Those guys really work for it and earn it.”

“I’m very fortunate to be in the position I am with the amount of playmakers, and the quarterback, we have,” added second-year co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott. “More importantly, they’re a bunch of good young men. That’s what makes it most satisfying. Obviously, we’re having a lot of success on the field, numbers are good, we’re winning football games. But most important, you’re seeing these young men mature. That’s the fun thing.”

There is one quandary with having a multitude of scoring options within the offense: it’s hard for anybody catching passes for Clemson to gain All-American traction, except possibly for Leggett as he’s eligible at a more shallow position of tight end.

Cain, at a team-high eight touchdowns (which has tied a school single-season receiving record for sophomores), is outside the top 20 nationally in that category. His 20.4 yards per reception is ninth in the country.

Williams’ 754 receiving yards leads the Tigers and ranks second in the ACC behind Syracuse’s Amba Etta-Tawo, but ranks 29th in the country. Williams’ 52 receptions are tied for 35th overall.

“Young people probably think about that more than we do as coaches,” Elliott said. “My biggest concern is to put together a gameplan that puts them in a position to be successful and helps our team win football games.

“We focus on winning. We believe if you put in the work, in due time, you’re going to get the accolades and rewards you deserve.”

Throw in tailback Wayne Gallman and Watson carrying much of the gameplan on the ground, and Watkins can rest easy knowing his clean sweep of the school’s season and career records for catches, catches per game, receiving yards, yards per game and 100-yard games are likely safe for awhile. (DeAndre Hopkins holds the program single-season record for touchdowns and shares the career mark with Watkins).

But this much can be said for Clemson receivers: at no point in the school’s history, not even when Watkins and Hopkins were catching passes from Tajh Boyd, has there been this depth of talent at the position.

“It’s something you’ve got to think about, because we’ve got a lot of weapons on our team,” Scott said. “We’ve always had a lot of weapons at Clemson. That’s one of the parts of playing football. Other players will make plays, and they’ve got to get their touches. We don’t really think about, ‘oh, he’s got to get this or get that.’ We just go play.”

Clemson career receiving TD leaders (active players in bold)

T-1) DeAndre Hopkins (2010-12): 27 TDs

T-1) Sammy Watkins (2011-13): 27 TDs

3) Aaron Kelly (2005-08): 20 TDs

4) Glenn Smith (1949-51): 18 TDs

T-5) Artavis Scott (2014-): 17 TDs

T-5) Perry Tuttle (1978-81): 17 TDs

T-7) Terrance Roulhac (1983-86): 16 TDs

T-7) Derrick Hamilton (2001-03): 16 TDs

T-7) Jacoby Ford (2006-09): 16 TDs

T-10) Jordan Leggett (2013-): 15 TDs

T-10) Mike Williams (2013-): 15 TDs

T-10) Terry Smith (1990-93): 15 TDs

Deon Cain (2015-): 13 TDs

Hunter Renfrow (2015-): 8 TDs